Brief Introduction On Bhadrachalam Temple
The Bhadrachalam Temple is the most famous shrine in the country that is dedicated to Lord Rama. It is on a hillock where the river Godavari flows on the left bank. The present Temple was constructed during the 17th century, in the year 1674 C.E. by the then local Tahsildar, Kancharla Gopanna, who is known as the Bhakta Ramadas as he was a fervent devotee of Lord Rama.
The religious and cultural significances
The religious as well as cultural significance of this shrine stems from the epic Ramayana era. This hill place was then a part of the Dandakaranya of the Ramayana where Rama, his wife Sita and brother Laxmana had lived during their vanavasa. Lord Vishnu is said to have appeared at this temple site once again as Rama, long after his Ramavatara form had ended its earthly period. Lord Vishnu did this to fulfill a promise that he had made in his incarnation as Rama to his devotee Bhadra, who continued tapasya through ages or yugas, to seek the grace of Sri Ramachandra. Sri Ramachandra had promised Bhadra Maharshi moksha or liberation after his intensive prayer.
Lord Rama the presiding deity
The presiding deity of the bhadrachalam temple telangana is Sri Rama who is seated with his wife Sita on his lap and with Lakshman his brother to his left. This is why, the temple is also known as the Sri Sita Ramchandra Temple. Since the deity of Rama is a form of Vishnu, the image of Lord Rama in this temple has four hands and holding the Sudarshan chakra. The great scholar Adi Shankara on visiting the temple has described Sri Rama of the Bhadrachalam Temple as Vaikuntha Rama that is the Rama of the celestial abode of the Supreme Creator.
The idol details
The moola virattu or the main deities are two granite idols of Lord Rama and his wife Sita who is seated on his lap and that of Lakshmana, his brother. The unique feature of this idol of Sri Rama is that he holds the conch or the panchajanya in his right hand while the left hand holds the Sudarshana Chakra. All idols of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana have arresting divine beauty. True meditation before these idols will make you aware of the mystical oneness of the idols with that of the Supreme Creator.
Shrines around the main temple
There are no other temple shrines within the Bhadrachalam Temple, but there are two Kshetra Palakas located nearby meant for the main temple. They are Shri Yogananda Jwala Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy or the Lord Narasimha temple and the Sri Annapurna Kasi Vishweswara Swamy or the Lord Shiva temple. In both these temples, the individual deity faces the west that is towards the Godavari River. Both these temples though are sub-temples of the Bhadrachalam, however, are equally important. Both of them are also situated on nearby hillocks of which Lord Shivas temple is situated on a higher hillock with all Nava Grahas and Lord Ganesh or the Vignadipathi Vinayakudu.
Daily worship rituals
Each day at the temple begins with Prabhadhotsavam or the awakening ceremony at 4.30 am sharp by the singing of especially composed songs of Tumu Narasimhadas, Sannai Trupets Naubat and poems. With regard to the bhadrachalam temple timings, on Sundays the Abhishekam of Lord Ram is ritually performed at 7.00 am. On all other days of the week, the Abhishekam is carried out at Badruni Sannithi during the same hour that is 7.00 am. The temple closes at night by 8.30 pm after the completion of the last pujas. For the devotees the temple is open for darshan and offering puja to the deity. There is also the scope of giving special puja to Lord Rama through the puja management office.
Special occasions and celebration
There are two major festivals that are celebrated each year traditionally going since the days of Bhakta Ramadas other than the regular bhadrachalam temple puja. Rama Navami is the most important and also most popular festival at the Bhadrachalam Temple. It is celebrated on every Chaitra shuddha navami on the tithi of the auspicious Punarvasu that is the Janma Nakshatra or the birth star of Lord Rama. Also, the Kalyanamahotsavam in honor of Sri Rama and his wife Sita is celebrated either during the last week of March or the first week of April. The Kalyanamahotsavam is particularly celebrated between 10 am and 12.30 pm and the sacred Talambralu is showered upon deities exactly at noontime.
The Vykuntha Ekadasi is the other most important of them and is celebrated either during December or January that is in the Dhanur Masam. The day is either the Pushya or the Margasira shuddha Ekadasi. A ten day festival in honor of Lord Vishnu called the Adhyayanotsavams and Dasavatara Mahotsavams or the ten incarnations of Vishnu precede the Vykuntha Ekadasi festival.
The Vaaggeyakara Mahotsavam is celebrated here every year to commemorate the Bhakta Ramadasa, who was a vaaggeyakara and the devotee of Lord Rama.
Holy pilgrimage for moksha
The Bhadrachalam Temple is rich with religious significance for the Hindu who believes in the trident of Brahma Vishnu and Maheswara. Lord Rama is one among the ten incarnations of Vishnu. This incarnation form he is said to have lived near this Temple site along with his wife and brother during the exile period.
Moreover, it is a site where tapasya or prayers were carried out through the ages by devotee of the Lord to have the grace of a glance of him. Relenting to such ardent devotion even the Lord of the universe relented to appear at this place to give him liberation or moksha. Naturally the bhadrachalam temple puja is very much revered by the Hindus and the place as a pilgrimage spot where the darshan of the doors of the Lord on the Vykuntha Ekadasi will give them liberation like Bhakta Ramdas.